Have you ever been faced with a situation that you didn’t expect? A disappointment, a cancellation, a set back?
We all have at some point in our lives and it’s how we deal with these situations that can either trigger a full on stress response OR a “let it roll off” you attitude.
This happened to me recently when I got news that a course I had been really looking forward to taking was going to be cancelled/postponed.
My initial reaction was “Oh no! I was really looking forward to taking that course” and then I let my feelings run away with me for a moment. I headed down that old familiar slippery slope of being on the defensive and making a rash decision without having all the facts.
I sat with this for a while, observing my behaviour and I found it very interesting, like looking at myself sitting across the table, observing what my mind was telling me and what was actually true.
When something comes out you out of the blue our bodies “usually” go into the stress response, digestion stops, there’s a shot of adrenaline, the cortisol spikes and we might feel shaky or get hot – its a physical reaction.
We know it’s happening if we are in tune with our bodies, if we have lost touch with our bodies and its sensations we might not register that we are having a stress response. If we are in constant chronic stress this becomes our new normal so our senses can be dulled.
By being able to observe our response to stress we can minimize the impact it has on our minds and bodies. Breathing is key here, just simply focusing on deep breaths can dramatically reduce the stress response and flood the body with calming thoughts and oxygen.
Here’s what I do now when these types of situations happen:
- Stop what you’re doing and breath!
- Don’t make rash decisions
- Do your research – it might work out better than you thought possible
What I’ve found is key is to stop, take stock and stop the rush of thoughts that are invading your head space and most importantly breath. When we are in stressful situations we often forget to breath and end up shallow breathing which makes our blood pressure go up.
By sitting with the situation or any possible decision, giving yourself time to digest it and not make rash decisions you might later regret gives you the headspace to get rid of the initial reactions (which are usually primarily fear based) and give you time for your emotions to settle down again.
Research your options (if that needs to be done). When I got the notification that the program was cancelled, I was able to move it to another date that after doing some research on something else I was planning, actually worked out beautifully. I was able to do more of what I wanted to do instead of less, just by moving the program to a later day.
I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason, there’s a bigger plan in place and now I find myself shouting “plot twist” when things sometimes don’t go to “my” plan.
How do you deal with sudden changes of plan? Do you roll with the punches and take time to access the situation or do you react first and think later?
Leave us a comment below as we would love to know your thoughts.
Love Maggie & Sally
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